Chinese President Xi Jinping Establishes New Information Assistance Force of PLA

China establishes Information Assistance Force to enhance PLA's digital warfare capabilities, part of Xi's military modernization drive to boost China's competitiveness in future conflicts.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping Establishes New Information Assistance Force of PLA

Chinese President Xi Jinping Establishes New Information Assistance Force of PLA

President Xi Jinping of China formed the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Information Assistance Force in Beijing on April 19, 2024. At the new force's founding ceremony, Xi, who also holds the positions of chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) and general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, gave the new force a flag.

The Information Assistance Force was created to enhance the PLA's joint combat and all-domain operational capabilities based on network information systems. Xi stressed that the establishment of this force is a major decision made by the CPC Central Committee and the CMC to build a strong military. He described the force as an innovative, strategic branch of the military and a key pillar in coordinating the construction and application of the network information system.

According to Xi, the Information Assistance Force will play a critical role in advancing the Chinese military's high-quality development and competitiveness in modern warfare. He ordered the force to be absolutely loyal, pure, and reliable, and to integrate deeply into the PLA's joint operation system. Xi also urged efforts to build a network information system that fulfills the requirements of modern warfare and features the Chinese military's own characteristics, as well as to accelerate the development of integrated combat capabilities.

Why this matters: The establishment of the Information Assistance Force signifies China's increasing focus on modernizing its military and enhancing its capabilities in the digital domain. As global conflicts increasingly involve cyber and information warfare, the creation of this specialized force positions China to better compete in future military engagements.

As part of the restructuring, the CMC announced that the Information Assistance Force will be directly led by the CMC, and the official designation of the Strategic Support Force will be canceled. The leadership and structures of the PLA Space Force and the PLA Cyberspace Force have been rearranged under the new Information Assistance Force. Xi emphasized that the force must focus on using information assets to assist combat operations, maintain information flow, integrate information resources, protect information security, and integrate deeply into the military's joint operation system.

The establishment of the Information Assistance Force is part of Xi's ongoing efforts to revamp the Chinese military, which have included reducing its size to around two million personnel and overhauling its command structures. Since 2012, Xi has also overseen the creation of a Rocket Force as part of the PLA's modernization drive. As Xi stated during the ceremony, "The information assistance force is a new, strategic branch of the military that will play a critical role in advancing the Chinese military's high-quality development and competitiveness in modern warfare."

Key Takeaways

  • China established the Information Assistance Force to enhance PLA's joint combat capabilities.
  • The force will integrate the PLA Space Force and Cyberspace Force under its command.
  • It aims to assist combat operations, maintain information flow, and protect information security.
  • The force is part of Xi's efforts to modernize the Chinese military, including reducing its size.
  • The Information Assistance Force is a strategic branch to boost China's military competitiveness.